All For Nuttin’
Airdate – December 18, 2011
In the late 40’s and throughout the 50’s, baby boomers were imprinted, if you will, with some of the greatest Christmas songs of all time, many of which have become timeless classics and have been covered by various artists over the last 50 years.
Who can forget Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song” (1946) and Eartha Kitt’s sensuous “Santa Baby” (1953). And what about Gene Autry who gave us three classics: “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” (1947), “Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer” (1949) and “Frosty The Snowman” (1950).
Some of the early offerings were true Christmas novelty records. One of the first of this variety was “All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth” introduced by Spike Jones & His City Slickers in 1948. It went to number one on the charts that year.
And here’s another Christmas novelty tune that went to number 6 on the charts in 1955 – but not commonly remembered today …
The performer of this very successful 1955 tune was only six years old when he recorded it.
He would go on to become a film, TV and voice actor as well as a political talk show host and producer. He also holds the distinction of being the longest-serving President of the Screen Actors Guild, a position he held from 1988 – 1995.
As a child star he appeared on The Jackie Gleason Show and The Jack Benny Program. His film debut at the ripe old age of seven was in the “Girl Can’t Help It” as a newspaper boy. In the movie he utters a classic line upon seeing Jayne Mansfield – “if that’s a girl, I don’t know what my sister is.”
He would go on to do some Broadway and a great deal of voice over work on TV. He played numerous character roles, most notably, for you “All In The Family” buffs he played Gary Rabinowitz, Archie’s Jewish accountant during the last two years of the show, renamed “Archie Bunker’s Place.”
He is a well-respected man with a great deal of knowledge. Since 2007, he has taught courses in politics and the media at California State University in Los Angeles. His name is Barry Gordon.
It is hard to believe that Barry’s 1955 Christmas hit which sold over a million copies, received a gold disc, and is considered one of the most successful Christmas songs of all time is rarely heard today.
After all, Barry Gordon is a man who gave much of his time and his talent throughout his career and yet got “Nuttin’ For Christmas,” Tom Locke’s Christmas moment in time.
YouTube video of this song:
His Goose Wasn’t Cooked
Airdate – Dec 13, 2014
In 1958 a hockey goaltender who had toiled in the minor leagues for eleven seasons was claimed by the Toronto Maple Leafs in an inter-league draft.
This maneuver by the Toronto hockey club paid huge dividends as this goaltender would go on to play 12 seasons for the Leafs in the NHL and back stop the team to four Stanley Cups – three of them in a row.
What does this have to do with music you ask? Well this goaltender fancied himself a singer … so much so that he recorded and released a Christmas record in December of 1965 …
Born in 1924, he just celebrated his 90th birthday on November 8 of this year (2014) and he still lives in the Toronto area.
His 1965 Christmas release would indicate that his recording career started at the tender age of 41.
Moreover, his recording received massive airplay in Toronto and made it onto Toronto’s prestigious Chum Chart rising to 29th position.
Although the song only lasted 2 weeks on the charts, it became a seasonal staple in the Toronto area with this goaltender performing the song on several occasions for charity even after his playing days.
That goaltender was Hockey Hall Of Famer, Johnny Bower.
On the record, he sang with his son John and a group of kids. Their official non de plume was “Johnny Bower And Little John with the Rinky-Dinks.”
At the outset we said that this goaltender fancied himself as a singer. However, more than one person who grew up in Toronto hearing this song have counter by saying that they “fancied Johnny Bower as a great goaltender period.”
But let’s let you be the judge as we give a listen to Johnny Bower And Little John with the Rinky-Dinks singing “Honky (The Christmas) Goose,” Tom Locke’s Christmas moment in time.
YouTube video of this song:
These “Moments In Time” stories are representative of Christmas “golden oldies” or forgotten favorites that earned their place in the evolution of Rock & Roll.